Divine Comedy Regeneration

In their native UK, the Divine Comedy has become increasingly popular with every subsequent release, and when the inevitable greatest hits album appeared it sold by the bucket load and the band were soon playing to football stadiums full of adoring fans. Now they've made the jump to a real major label, just in time for the band to split up - they decided to call it a day just a few weeks ago. But seeing the band was initially more like a one-man project with Neil Hannon, the lead singer, doing just about everything, it might just mean a return to earlier, simpler times when he was merely convinced he was the reincarnation of Noel Coward. Regeneration is a relatively downbeat affair, also there's no obvious single that will get the stadiums full of people jumping up and down like "National Express" did, and the contemplative nature of some songs will hardly win them any new fans. Considering the band now numbers seven members, the arrangements don't sound full, as there's a decent amount of strings but not a whole lot else. Regeneration isn't the band's best album, but as long as Hannon can still write songs like "Lost Property," there should be an audience for his literate, sophisticated pop songs. (EMI)